Psalm 18:44
As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves to me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(44) As soon asi.e., at the bare mention of my victories. An actual instance is recorded (2Samuel 8:9, seq.). For the expression, comp. Job 42:5.

The strangers shall.—See margin. More literally, come with flattery. In Samuel the two clauses are transposed and slightly varied.

18:32, and the following verses, are the gifts of God to the spiritual warrior, whereby he is prepared for the contest, after the example of his victorious Leader. Learn that we must seek release being made through Christ, shall be rejected. In David the type, we behold out of trouble through Christ. The prayer put up, without reconciliation Jesus our Redeemer, conflicting with enemies, compassed with sorrows and with floods of ungodly men, enduring not only the pains of death, but the wrath of God for us; yet calling upon the Father with strong cries and tears; rescued from the grave; proceeding to reconcile, or to put under his feet all other enemies, till death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed. We should love the Lord, our Strength, and our Salvation; we should call on him in every trouble, and praise him for every deliverance; we should aim to walk with him in all righteousness and true holiness, keeping from sin. If we belong to him, he conquers and reigns for us, and we shall conquer and reign through him, and partake of the mercy of our anointed King, which is promised to all his seed for evermore. Amen.As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me - Margin, as in Hebrew, At the hearing of the ear. That is, their submission will be prompt and immediate. The fame of my victories will be such as to render resistance hopeless; my fame, as at the head of a mighty empire, will be such as to lead them to desire my friendship and protection.

The strangers - Margin, as in Hebrew, The sons of the stranger. The word refers to foreigners, to those of other nations. His name and deeds would inspire such respect, or create such a dread of his power, that they would be glad to seek his friendship, and would readily submit to his dominion.

Shall submit themselves unto me - Margin, yield feigned obedience. The Hebrew word used here - כחשׁ kâchash - means properly to lie, to speak lies; then, to deceive, or disappoint; then, to feign, to flatter, to play the hypocrite. It is manifestly used in this sense here, as referring to those who, awed by the terror of his name and power, would come and profess subjection to him as a conqueror. Yet the use of the word here implies that he was aware that, in many cases, this would be only a feigned submission, or that the homage would be hypocritical; homage inspired by terror, not by love. Undoubtedly, much of the professed subjection of conquered nations is of this kind, and it would be well if all conquerors understood this as David did. He accepted, indeed, the acquiescence and the submission, but he understood the cause; and this knowledge would only tend to make his throne more secure, as it would save him from putting confidence or trust where there was no certainty that it would be well placed.

Toward David as a sovereign there was much real loyalty, but there was also much professed allegiance that was false and hollow; allegiance which would endure only while his power lasted, and which would only wait for an opportunity to throw off the yoke. In respect to God, also, there are not a few who "feignedly submit" to him, or who yield feigned obedience. They, too, are awed by his power. They know that he is able to destroy. They see the tokens of his greatness and majesty, and they come and profess submission to him - a submission founded on terror, not on love; a submission which would cease at once could they be assured of safety if they should renounce their allegiance to him. And as David was not ignorant of the fact that not a little of the professed submission to him was false and feigned - so, in a much higher sense - in a much more accurate manner - God is aware of the fact that many who profess to be subject to him are subject in profession only; that if they could do it with safety, they would throw off the very appearance of loyalty, and carry out in reality what exists in their hearts. It must have been sad for David to reflect how greatly the number of his professed subjects might have been diminished, if none had been retained but those who truly loved his reign, and respected him as a sovereign; it is sad to reflect how greatly the number of the professed friends of God would be diminished, if all those should withdraw who have yielded only reigned obedience to him! Yet the Church would be the better and the stronger for it.

44. submit, &c.—(compare Margin)—that is, show a forced subjection. As soon as they hear of me; either,

1. At the fame of my name and victorious arms. Or,

2. At the first tidings of my coming towards them. Or rather,

3. As soon as they understand my will and pleasure, they shall instantly comply with it.

Submit themselves unto me, Heb. shall lie unto me, i.e. shall submit themselves to me not willingly and cheerfullly, as they will pretend, but only out of fear, and by constraint; by which it appears that this is spoken with reference to David, and not (as some would have it) to Christ, because Christ’s people are a willing people, Psalm 110:3, and those whom he conquers do freely obey him. As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me,.... That is, as soon as they should hear of Christ, through the preaching of the word, by which faith would come, they should readily and at once receive, embrace, and profess the Gospel, and yield a cheerful submission to the ordinances of it; and which has had its accomplishment among the Gentiles, Acts 28:28;

the strangers shall submit themselves unto me; meaning either the same persons as before; the Gentiles, who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise, who should submit to Christ, to his Gospel, to his righteousness, and to the sceptre of his kingdom; though some interpret it of the degenerate Jews, "the sons of the stranger", as the words may be rendered; who, though called the children of God, and the children of the kingdom, yet were, as our Lord says, of their father the devil; and these, some of them, in a flattering and dissembling way, feigned themselves to be the followers and disciples of Christ: and, indeed, it looks as if hypocrites were intended, whether among Jews or Gentiles, or both, since the word here used, and rendered "submit", signifies to "lie"; and so it is in the metaphrase of Apollinarius; or, as in the margin of some Bibles, to "yield a feigned obedience"; see Psalm 66:3. There seems to be an allusion to the conquest of nations, some of the inhabitants of which readily and heartily submit, but others only feignedly, and through fear, and the force of superior power they cannot withstand.

As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall {i} submit themselves unto me.

(i) Or lie: signifying a subjection constrained and not voluntary.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
44. As soon as they heard of me they offered me obedience,

Strangers came cringing unto me.

At the mere report of David’s victories foreign nations offered their allegiance, as for example Toi of Hamath. See 2 Samuel 8:9 ff. The word rendered submit themselves, marg. yield feigned obedience, denotes originally the unwilling homage paid by the vanquished to their conqueror. Cp. Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 66:3; Psalm 81:15.

In 2 Sam. the order of the clauses is inverted.Verse 44. - As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me; literally, at the hearing of the ear. But the meaning is that given in the Authorized Version. The words aptly describe the conversion of the Gentiles (see Acts 10:34-48; Acts 13:48; Acts 17:11; Acts 18:8, etc.). The strangers shall submit themselves unto me; literally, the sons of the stranger shall pay court to me - not necessarily a false court, as Hengstenberg and others suppose, but, as Dr. Kay explains, an "obsequious and servile homage." (Heb.: 18:38-41) Thus in God's strength, with the armour of God, and by God's assistance in fight, he smote, cast down, and utterly destroyed all his foes in foreign and in civil wars. According to the Hebrew syntax the whole of this passage is a retrospect. The imperfect signification of the futures in Psalm 18:38, Psalm 18:39 is made clear from the aorist which appears in Psalm 18:40, and from the perfects and futures in what follows it. The strophe begins with an echo of Exodus 15:9 (cf. supra Psalm 7:6). The poet calls his opponents קמי, as in Psalm 18:49, Psalm 44:6; Psalm 74:23, cf. קימנוּ Job 22:20, inasmuch as קוּם by itself has the sense of rising up in hostility and consequently one can say קמי instead of עלי קמים (קומים 2 Kings 16:7).

(Note: In the language of the Beduins kôm is war, feud, and kômānı̂ (denominative from kōm) my enemy (hostis); kōm also has the signification of a collective of kōmānı̂, and one can equally well say: entum waijânâ kôm, you and we are enemies, and: bênâtnâ kôm, there is war between us.)

The frequent use of this phrase (e.g., Psalm 36:13, Lamentations 1:14) shows that קום in Psalm 18:39 does not mean "to stand (resist)," but "to rise (again)." The phrase נתן ערף, however, which in other passages has those fleeing as its subject (2 Chronicles 29:6), is here differently applied: Thou gavest, or madest me mine enemies a back, i.e., those who turn back, as in Exodus 23:27. From Psalm 21:13 (תּשׁיתמו שׁכם, Symm. τάξεις αὐτοὺς ἀποστρόφους) it becomes clear that ערף is not an accusative of the member beside the accusative of the person (as e.g., in Deuteronomy 33:11), but an accusative of the factitive object according to Ges. 139, 2.

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